Saturday, January 3, 2015

Enjoying Uruguay with Hermana Ventura

December 29, 2014

So I can honestly say this week was one I will never forget!  You guys heard a little bit about my Christmas Eve and Christmas on GoogleChat, but now I’ll give you a couple more details!  

My Christmas here in Uruguay was so special!:)  During Christmas Eve day, Hermana Ventura and I visited lots of members in the morning.  We realized we didn’t have any fruit in the house, so before lunch, we headed to a fruit store.  I saw a couple who looked a little out of place (they both had light hair and were talking in English...haha I guess I know how people in Uruguay see me now), so I talked to them for a bit!  It turns out they’re from California, and they sailed to Uruguay for Christmas!  It was a tender mercy to meet some people from the states, and I gave them web addresses for “He is the Gift” and “Él es la Dádiva.”  After lunch, we visited some sweet members in the afternoon (so many people gave us food for Christmas Eve) and then headed back to the house of Hermana Teresa!  She invited some of her neighbors, the elders, her daughter, and her granddaughter to dinner, and we all ate tacos together.  It was so fun and I just loved hearing about traditions from all around the world!  After dinner, Hermana Ventura and I headed to our house, and then at midnight, everyone shot off fireworks!  We got to see the fireworks for a little bit, and it was just incredible.  As I fell asleep that night, I just couldn’t help but be SO HAPPY to be a missionary spending a Christmas with such special people in such a special country.  

Christmas morning, Hermana Ventura and I opened up gifts from Presidente y Hermana Smith and discovered our cute pajama pants.  THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!!!  We then headed to the chapel so Hermana Ventura could call her mom, and I tried lots of things to recover my Skype username and password (as you guys know, it wasn’t much of a success on my end of things).  Afterwards, our branch president (President Ayala) invited us over to his house for a big Christmas lunch!  The Ayala family is so generous--we ate lamb!  Hermana Ventura and I then visited sweet Alba and her neighbor, Monika, for a bit!  Then, I talked to you!  Oh my goodness I just love you all so much and thanks for your tips!  To end our Christmas, we spent time with Hermana Graciela, a recent convert.  She doesn’t have any children, so she always treats us and the elders like her children!  She made us a bunch of little snacks and told lots of stories about her life...she is such a hoot!  But anyway, I had the best Christmas ever, and Hermana Ventura pointed out it is so cool to celebrate Christ’s birth during our missions because this is the only period in our lives where all of our time and efforts are dedicated to HIM!  
Before I head out, I would like to share a little bit about what I learned during my studies this morning!  I think one of my biggest problems as a person and as a missionary is comparing myself to others and having envy.  So I studied envy and found an awesome scripture, 2 Nephi 26:32!

32 And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should NOT ENVY; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish.
Yeah it’s a little strong, but now, I definitely do not want to envy!  And afterwards, I just absolutely loved verse 33!

33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing, save it be plain unto the children of men; and HE INVITETH THEM ALL TO COME UNTO HIM and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female: and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

I know without a doubt the Lord always does good among us, and He invites EVERYONE (people in Seattle, people in Sweden, people in Peru, people in Michigan, people in Brazil, people in Uruguay, and people everywhere) to COME UNTO HIM.  He has so much goodness to offer, and even though we are so imperfect (lots of times I feel like the "heathen" mentioned in this verse), He is patient with us, sees us as equals, and will accompany us during every hard time so we can BECOME a little bit more perfect every day!  

I love you guys lots, and have a great new year!  Next time I email you, it’ll be 2015!  How crazy is that?!  


Hermana Dixon
The Villagrans

December 22, 2014

This week was so different but so fun!!!  Monday and Tuesday were normal, but on Wednesday morning, my whole zone headed to Montevideo (oh my goodness I just love Montevideo)!  Our zone had a capacitacion with Presidente y Hermana Smith Wednesday morning, a delicious lunch Wednesday afternoon, a capacitacion with the assistants and our zone leaders in the late afternoon, and interviews with Presidente in the night!  All the hermanas slept in the temple hostel and it was just so fun. 

Thursday we went to the temple!  We got to do all the ordinances for an ancestor...I did the endowment for Hillah (our ancestor), and helped out a hermana in my zone who had two names with all the other ordinances.  I hope one day you guys will be able to go to the Montevideo Temple because it is a very special place.  After the temple, we had another delicious lunch and spent some time at the mission home with Presidente y Hermana Smith.  We played a little Christmas game, ate Christmas chocolates, sang Christmas carols, and received gifts and stockings from them.  They are honestly the sweetest!  After our little Christmas celebration, we headed back to Colonia, and Hermana Ventura and I stayed overnight in Nueva Helvecia with Hermanas Tate and Lopez! 

Then, the next day we woke up and headed to Carmello to practice for the Charla Fogonera (aka Christmas choir)!  We got back to our area at five in the afternoon, did some quick visits, and then went to our Actividad de Rama!  We had a pesebre with all the kids in our branch (I got to participate as the angel), watched some fun Christmas videos, and ate yummy food!  All the little kids got gifts, so that was awesome to see as well:)  

On Saturday, we spent the morning in Juan Lacaze, but then headed to Carmello for a practice and the Charla Fogonera!  It went really well!  I had the opportunity to sing a “Silent Night” (“Noche de Luz”) duet with Hermana Tate from California!  It was a cool experience for sure. 

On Sunday, we went to church (Hermana Villagran, the friend of Uncle Tom, gave an AMAZING talk about Christ), had lunch with Hermana Teresa (we live right next to her house), and then headed to Nueva Helvecia for ANOTHER Charla Fogonera!  I loved the Charla Fogonera yesterday because some people from JUAN LACAZE came!  Alba came with her neighbor, Monica, and it was just so fun to see them in the audience!  I’m starting to fall in love with this little branch in Juan Lacaze...the people here are so strong and made so many sacrifices to go to the Charla Fogonera--Juan Lacaze is about forty-five minutes away from Nueva Helvecia!  I love singing Christmas hymns in Spanish!!  Next year, we can all sing together in my Spanish hymn book:):)  

And today was a super fun P-Day!  We got together as a zone, and Presidente gave us permission to watch Frozen and How to Train Your Dragon 2!  Anyway, sorry this letter was so scattered, but it was kind of a scattered week!  I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH, and I am so excited to Skype with you this Christmas at six my time:):)  If I have any problems, I’ll just call the home phone or someone’s cellphone.  HAVE A GREAT NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS!

Hermana Dixon:)
December 15, 2014

Hey fam!

I can’t believe another week has flown by!  It’s so fun to hear from all of you and it sounds like you’re doing great!
This week has been filled with lots of MUSIC!  We’re going to be having another Charla Fogonera here in Colonia for Navidad, so we’ve been having lots of practices.  Also, yesterday we had our children’s sacrament meeting presentation!  Our Primary is small (we had four children who participated), but it was so awesome to hear them singing Primary songs in Spanish!
I am really enjoying my time with Hermana’s fun having a companion for her last change because she is teaching me everything she’s learned throughout her mission.  I am lucky!

This week, we shared the “Él es la Dádiva” video a ton!  I love being a missionary in Uruguay because here, it’s not weird to talk to random people in the street!  So Hermana Ventura and I are able to talk to a lot of awesome people and show them “Él es la Dádiva” with their cell phones.  It’s something that is WAY outside of my comfort zone, but it’s worth it to show people this video because they always have huge smiles on their faces afterwards!

Our district leader asked us to focus our studies on the love of God this past Tuesday.  I loved studying 2 Nephi 4, and I’m going to share a quick verse (20), "My God hath been my support, he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep."  Although lots of times we’re not exactly in the wilderness or sailing across deep waters, we definitely have times in life that are HARD.  I love this verse because through it, we can realize that when we’re struggling, we’ve got someone who will SUPPORT us and LEAD us through our afflictions.  Boy oh boy am I grateful for this support because there is no way I’m doing this whole mission thing on my own!

Alba is doing GREAT!  She came to church yesterday and saw the sweet children’s sacrament meeting presentation.  She prayed about December 27 and still doesn’t feel completely ready, but it’s all good!  She realizes baptism is a lifelong commitment, so she wants to be sure.  I am so grateful to have the opportunity to teach her!

We lost our cell phone about a month ago and a member lent us one but it only worked when it was plugged in.  So we could only use it at night.  But yesterday, another member lent us a cell phone and it WORKS!  We are so excited!

Well, that’s about it on my end!  I sure do love you lots, and I’m looking forward to talking to you guys for Christmas!  I don’t know details yet but I’ll keep you updated!

Hermana Dixon